We're not all artists. Being talented at art -- whether it be music, painting, pottery, or graphic design -- is a gift in itself. As a customer service professional, you likely have at least some basic expertise in design, even if that simply entails being able to throw some colored fonts and images onto a Microsoft Word document.

However, not all those responsible for designing their companies' websites are too skilled in that field. You might be shocked that these website failures were, somehow, ok'd to be published.

So, if you're looking for some inspiration to get your website updated -- or, simply, want a good laugh -- check out the following list of terrible website designs.

Free Download: 77 Examples of Brilliant Web Design 

9 Poorly-Designed Websites

These examples of bad website design will give you an idea of what to do -- and what not to do -- when building a homepage to improve the customer experience.

1. Yale University School of Art

You would expect any website from the prestigious Yale University to be high-quality and stunning. Moreso, you would expect Yale's School of the Art website to be well-designed to articulate the impressive program the university offers to aspiring artists

However, for some astonishing reason, that is simply not the case. The Yale University School of the Art website has long featured a constantly changing series of cringe-worthy images and background GIFs.

Overall, the site looks extremely old-fashioned and unprofessional, which completely contradicts the image of the university. In addition, the bouncing oranges and moving images make for an aggressive experience for your eyes.

2. The Room - Official Movie Site

The website for the film The Room features a black background overlaid with large text in white and other neon colors. The fonts are very basic, large, and -- quite honestly -- ghastly to look at. What's worse is that there's no menu -- the entire website is one very long home page.

Near the end, there's a variety of strange images and GIFs. They all pertain to the film, but the advertisements are loud and distracting from the point of the site, which is to get consumers to buy rights to use the film. The website has a very trashy look, and the long, single page probably deters many visitors from reading the full content.

3. Cloud 9 Walkers

My main qualm with this website is that I had to do some serious reading to understand what the point of the company is. The name of the organization and the cloudy background gives off a very religious connotation, making it unclear that the company is actually selling horses.

The way the site shows off its Tennesse Walking Horses is very tacky. It features blurry, low-quality photos of the horses, coupled with very long descriptions that lack proper grammar. It looks like something a child might have put together and likely makes consumers feel weary in trusting the company.

4. Irish Shipwrecks Online

Upon entering this website, I waited a few more seconds, thinking that the entire site hadn't loaded. Then, I realized that this was it -- a few, randomly-placed, very small photos on a cream, canvas background. For a website directed towards divers trying to explore the beauty of Ireland's shipwrecks, you might expect the website to actually show off said shipwrecks.

So, I clicked on the ship logo as directed, and came upon this page. Immediately, I felt uncomfortable. The website blasted me with bright text, warning me that I was to dive at my own risk, the company was not liable for any injuries, and I would be prosecuted for reproducing any of the website's content. It's not exactly a welcoming message.

All in all, this website is confusing and difficult to read, due to the font color and background choices. It reveals in-depth details on the shipwrecks, but the design makes the company seem like an incompetent source on the information.

5. Electrifying Times


In this site, you can immediately see that there's a lot happening on the home page and that there's an image that requires Adobe Flash, which makes the site feel outdated. No one wants to spend more time enabling Flash.


The website then features this incredibly long list of photos, which is incredibly unnecessary, and a purposefully misspelled "Pix" at the top. This section could have easily been compiled into a photo gallery rather than a series of links. In addition, the advertisements along the side make this site feel crowded.

6. Exmouth View Hotel

It's a mystery why the landing page for this website doesn't even include the entire home page. Rather, you must scroll vertically and horizontally in order to view all the text and photos. This design will already deter visitors who want to gain as much information as possible without needing to scroll.

However, I did scroll -- for research purposes alone -- and was met with these low-quality photos. If I was trying to stay at this hotel, I'd be immediately dissuaded. The photos do not reveal the interior of the hotel, the room setups, or the view from the rooms. Instead, they show a shabby building in bad lighting.

7. The University of Advancing Technology

The University of Advancing Technology sounds like a modern university that utilizes the latest developments in technology and design. With degree programs such as Digital Media, Game Art & Animation, and -- especially -- Web Design, UAT should easily have the best website design, right? Wrong.

In fact, you have to scroll down to even see who owns the website. As a university, UAT should want their name right at the top, clearly visible on the landing page. It makes no sense why, instead, they would have a strange image of a man with the titles of the university's degree programs floating around his head. It's both odd and confusing.

8. Inflexion Point

The one strength of this website is that its entire homepage fits on the landing page. However, that means that there are no other exciting elements to which you can scroll down to pull away from the incredibly boring landing page. If the company is anything like its website, I'd fear to work with some very dull investors.

I decided to click on one of the bullet point links to see if the website improved. It didn't. This basic, neutral design furthers the reputation of investment banks being all work and no play. This website could definitely take some tips from the above websites in adding some bold colors and interesting photos.

9. Ultimate Guitar Tabs

As a musician, I frequently look up sheet music and chords for a variety of songs that I can use to play the piano and guitar. When I'm trying to access this content, the last thing I want to be faced with is huge banner ads and a strange yellow and black color scheme. For a site that's supposed to be offering the latest song hits, this site could definitely use some updates.

I scrolled down to see if the homepage provided easy access to chord progressions for the current songs. Yet, instead, it has an excessive amount of categories of music genres, decades, and user posts. Overall, the site design is very overwhelming to users and provides more information than needed on a single homepage.

As bad as these website designs are, the following graphic designs might just give them for a run for their money.

5 Examples of Bad Graphic Design

1. The Club Doctor

This logo is entirely too confusing upon first glance. There's a stethoscope -- which might make users think this is potentially a hospital or clinic -- and a broken golf club. In addition, the font is an unattractive shade of green. When designing a logo, you want it to be immediately clear what the company does, and you want the logo to be pleasant and inviting.

2. Cyrenian House

Cyrenian House offers alcohol and drug treatment services. However, that is extremely unclear when looking at this logo, which appears to represent a man sitting inside a box and then jumping free. There was no reason for the three different colors, and the services provided by the center are nowhere expressed on the logo. Overall, this is a poor design that surely leads to confusion.

3. Missouri Department of Conservation

This logo is clearly for the Conservation Department of Missouri, and it features animals and plants which, at least, aligns with the mission of the organization. However, what's strange is the visual of a giant leaf atop a fish atop a raccoon. Why were these three chosen? Why are they all piled on top of each other? The image is almost comical, even though the organization is nothing of the sort.

4. DJ Rockin' Raj

Whoever DJ Rockin' Raj is, he's clearly an impassioned, fiery entertainer. However, there's no reason for the text "Full Light & Effects!" to be at a 45-degree angle. And, why is his name in flames? The text over the black background is a bit alarming, and the design makes him seem very intense, both of which might be turn-offs to some potential clients.

5. Global Emergency Vehicles

If anything, this design definitely shows off the sheer variety of vehicles offered by this company. However, the photos do not pair well together, since some are staged, while others are in motion. The design is tacky and features some blurry photos, which overall gives off an unprofessional attitude. There's too much happening that distracts from the point of the company.

Now that you've taken a look at some interesting choices of designs, you can be sure to never create a similarly cluttered, confusing website or graphic design. Avoid these mistakes, and show off just how professional your organization is.

Next, read this post about customer lifecycle management.

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Originally published Dec 21, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2021


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